You have to believe me — Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 wasn’t even close to being on my radar until last week, when it started popping up in my feeds as various sites gave previews of the upcoming title. In my head, it didn’t seem to be a game I’d even be interested in. The brand’s always been associated with “technical flight sim” for people who love a bajillion dials and have those elaborate sim control setups in their office.
Me? I’ve got a joystick that’s been gathering dust for a year now.
But all it took was one article and one video to completely suck me in and turn me into a lunatic who can’t seem to stop thinking about this game. I didn’t realize it was so pretty — or so user friendly to those of us who just want to, you know, fly without having to go through a 52-point checklist.
The more I think about it, the more it makes sense that this is exactly the type of game for me. I’m the kind of nerd who definitely will just sit down with Google Earth and zoom in and out of the globe to look at the terrain and see what an eagle’s eye view of the world looks like. Exploring via flight is a joy in MMOs, and if someone wants to give me the whole planet? I’ve got to see that.
What I’m hearing is that it’s really impressive how the game takes the satellite maps of the world and works to recreate the non-handcrafted portions with 3D algorithms. It’s literally a game where you can go anywhere and see anything, as long as it’s from the air.
We actually had the 1982 version of Microsoft Flight Simulator (above) on our IBM PC. For a kid who was seven or eight years old, I had no hope of being able to actually play this in any useful way. It was too complicated, and all I could figure out was how to throttle up and creatively crash the plane into control towers. But the thought of getting to fly in a (probably pseudo-) 3D world was intriguing even then. I mean, it was 1982. 3D, even simulated, wasn’t something that was in video games.
So I’ve definitely marked my calendar for August 18th and the launch of Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020. I think it’ll be a great game to share with the kids, too. But maybe I shouldn’t show them… they’ll try to take over my computer even more than they are now.